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Need recommendations of camcorder, video editor, for teens

by ajmrkva / May 16, 2008 6:52 AM PDT

I will be teaching a small group of teenagers (12-18 year olds) about interviewing neighbors to create several short digital stories about their neighborhood. We are on a tight budget and have little time to go over techniques, so I need the best of entry-level options.

I am a mac user who prefers miniDVs, but we'll be trying out a HDD camcorder for this project, so I need a recommendation for the best HDD camcorder (SD preferably) that is easiest to work with and edit and has a very reasonable price. I saw the Panasonic SDC-H40 (i think) but hear that its predecessor uses .MOD format which is a pain. Does the H40 use this as well? What other options are there?

Finally, I need a video editor for Windows that is very easy to use and can work with whatever format the camera will be using. I realize there is Windows Movie Maker, but thought there is a software more inspiring and also with DVD production as well. I know of Adobe Premiere Elements and Sony Movie Studio but have not worked with these or their compatibilities.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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recomended video editor / camcorder
by moncandido / May 16, 2008 9:18 AM PDT

camcorder: mini dv is still the best for recording events. if you are busy you can bring the tape to a pro shop and have it edited. a panasonic GS180, a small video light(to be use sparringly), a white card to be use on manual mode and a lightweight tripod.

video editor: the new cyberlink power director 7 will heal your videos and bring it youtube. put a check on the make disc without dvd menus so that the feature presentation is played at once.

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After a few people's responses...
by whizkid454 / May 16, 2008 9:52 AM PDT

I believe the H40 records in the .mod format, unfortunately. These can be a pain to edit unless you have the right software. It may be even more difficult on a Mac. For HDD, I'd recommend the Sony SR62 or 82. They both use .mpg therefore they are a more widely accepted editing format. Personally, I like the Sony Vegas Studio editing software. For the price, you get very good editing tools along with a good DVD authoring program. Vegas Studio does work with .mpg files. I haven't tried Pinnacle.

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Moncandid and Whizkid 454
by boya84 / May 17, 2008 4:23 AM PDT
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Good comments, but I'll need more help
by ajmrkva / May 17, 2008 10:10 AM PDT

I'll be considering the camcorders and apps listed thus far, but also want to specify that our group will be working on Windows, not Mac (I included the Mac part as to say that I am coming from Mac video editing and will be working with Windows instead).

Furthermore, our budget is pretty restricted and with all the equipment we'll need, I'm trying to find the perfect (for this occasion) camcorder at a low price. I continued with the research and found that most consumer camcorders now-a-days are leaving out microphone ports, shoes, and headphone ports. Such as the Panasonic H40 and many of the Sony HDD camcorders, I find this to be a disappointment.

We'll of course need an external microphone set up for recording interviews and would prefer a microphone jack at least.

Also, I am trying to sway our group into accepting a HDD camcorder instead of miniDV so we can dodge the costs of tapes and time to transfer from camera to computer.

So, is there a HDD camcorder with a microphone port that costs under $600?

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Is a total dodge possible?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 17, 2008 10:45 AM PDT
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If you limit yourself to your current requirements list,
by boya84 / May 17, 2008 11:57 AM PDT

there will be slim pickings in the HDD world. As it is, the least expensive miniDV tape camcorders with a mic in jack are the Canon ZR800, 900 and 930... but they do not have manual audio control, nor do they have a headphone jack. (And I guess you will need a mic, too.)

The least expensive camcorders (of which I am aware) with a mic-in jack, manual audio control and (I think) a headphone jack are the Canon HV20, HV30, HDR-HC7 and HC9.

Tapes are ~$3 each.
How many tapes do you think you need?

Accessory shoes are not a big deal if they can be cold:

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by whizkid454 / May 17, 2008 10:44 PM PDT
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That active interface shoe adapter
by boya84 / May 17, 2008 11:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Options...

is discontinued and is no longer available.

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by whizkid454 / May 18, 2008 12:11 AM PDT

I guess that means Sony wants you to buy their more expensive camcorders. Shame, shame, shame Sony...

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Yeah... it is too bad - but Panasonic, JVC and
by boya84 / May 18, 2008 1:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Hmmm...

many others don't have mic-in jacks at this level, either... regardless of the storage media type employed by the camcorder... Canon ZR800, 830 and 930 are it from what I can tell.

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Good for Canon
by ajmrkva / May 19, 2008 3:14 AM PDT

At least one company wants to give their consumer some freedom. I was really disappointed to see what has been left out of Sony and Panasonic cams (JVC I imagine too). What alternative are they giving us to get decent sound with these expensive pieces of equipment?

To answer an earlier question, I think we would need at a minimum 16 tapes, but that is an estimate that could be very much under.

I really wanted to avoid tape costs and transfering time but we may not have that option (and tape costs may not be as great as trying to get a HDD camcorder with mic-in, surprisingly.

If we go with tapeless, I think we'll have to settle for the Canon FS100, FS10 or FS11 and get a card with a lot of memory, I think I saw one on Amazon as a cheaper option with Mic-in, quality picture, the HD camcorders are too expensive and we are not attempting to make HD footage. We just want to record footage without tapes and with a mic. Simple, but with few solutions.

The attachment for the S200 seems to be discontinued and cost $100 at least on ebay. For that money, I'd just go with the FS models.

Otherwise, I think we'll just give in to logic and go for a Canon miniDV recorder.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and keep them coming if you can.

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by bamlactaid / July 19, 2008 2:51 PM PDT

I am buying the Sony DCR-SR200 aand it doesn't have mic input but a active interface shoe (AIS). The AIS allows you to use a sony mic like the Sony ECM-HGZ1 Shotgun Microphone and you can buy the Sony VMC-K100 which is a AIS mic adapter. right at this moment it is near impossible to buy a VMC-K100 but this would work fine

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Research on
by dan herrman / July 20, 2008 3:52 AM PDT

This is a great site for detailed analysis on camcorders.

My recommendation is to use adobe premiere elements and a 130-150 minidv camera.
cameras are the same with one chip and you can find plenty on ebay in this range.
Premiere elements is easy to use and can also prepare the user for more advanced editing should the choose.
This is based on windows application of course.

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